America & Vancouver Symphony
Monday May 5, 1997
The Horse With No Name
took flight on this spectacular night
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Vancouver B.C. has the reputation as one of the
most beautiful cities in the world, and it certainly was for at least one
memorable night (May 5, 1997) as America and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
combined their supreme talents for a marvelous performance.
The home of the VSO, the lavish Orpheum Theater
in downtown Vancouver was the perfect site for the concert, with its impressive
crystal chandeliers, plush red carpets and seats, ornate designs, and excellent
The America/VSO concert proved once again the
maxim that success breeds more success, and the world reknown VSO and approximately
70 members were united with one of the most illustrious and dynamic groups
in rock and roll history. The end result was predictable.......a FIRST
CLASS night thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by a packed theater.
This concert was a unique opportunity and challenge
for America in the respect that they have only performed four live symphony
concerts in 27 years, so this required some special preparation.
America enlisted one of the brilliant rising
young stars in the music industry, Jose Herring, to orchestrate the songs
and also to conduct the VSO. Jose is a recent graduate of the Julliard
School of Music in New York and has worked musically with America before,
and on other projects such as movie soundtracks. His professionalism and
leadership abilities were very apparent as he took control of the VSO and
quickly gained their respect and confidence.
Jose winning 'em over with a big smile (Monday Practice)
On Monday afternoon, the day of the concert,
America and VSO held a practice session at the Orpheum that set the tone
for the main event. They practiced each America/VSO song on the playlist,
and stopped repeatedly to get the timing and sound down to perfection.
It was amazing to witness how quickly it all came together, and it was
apparent this would be an astounding performance in the evening.
America and Vancouver Symphony at Monday Practice
Gerry in control.............and Dewey say's we can do it tonight!!!!
There was a certain healthy tension in the air
during practice, as America, Jose, and the VSO were challenged as professionals
to rise to the occasion and blend as one. It was also interesting to walk
around the Orpheum, and listen to the practice from up front, mid-way back,
and in the balcony, because it sounded a little different from each area.
Up in front it was more America, and less strings, but in back, the sound
blended together more.
Brad and Gerry discussing final preparations with Jose (Monday
The concert began at 8 pm, with Jose taking the
stage and leading the VSO through two selections, and then America walked
onstage and was greeted warmly. The VSO began playing Miniature, which
is a lead for Tin Man, which was Americas first number. Deweys vocals were
perfect, and the symphony added depth to this classic song.
Old Man Took was next, which also was given a
new dimension with strings in the background, while Dewey's vocals were
crisp and clear as ever. The dream concert began to take shape on these
highly successful beginnings.
Some concert highlights that soon followed were.............................
HOPE: Appropriately, Gerrys Grammy nominated
song Hope was the most powerfully enhanced song by string accompaniment
on the playlist, and was a true favorite of the audience. There was no
doubt why this song was honored by the Grammy committee, and the VSO helped
place Hope in perfect context.
LAST UNICORN: In sparkling blue light........along
with harps, bells, and strings and Gerrys rich vocals and piano, the Last
Unicorn shined brightly as ever......stunning the audience.
SERGEANT DARKNESS: Strings added a new dimension
to this compelling song by Gerry.
YOUNG MOON: Deweys hit from Hourglass, with a
string introduction, was another big hit with the audience. The VSO helped
bring out the best and brightest Young Moon, and proved quickly to the
audience that, as the lyrics go, We are here.......in this moment.....shining
twice as bright. This time.....it was obvious that America and the VSO
were shining as brightly as any young moon.
AMERICA SOLO: America allowed their VSO buddies
to relax and enjoy the show as they launched into a string of hits, including
Woman Tonight and Riverside. It gave the audience a unique opportunity
to contrast solo America with America and the VSO.
SANDMAN: Although not every symphony fan may
have appreciated this, America turned up the volume and played their stirring
rendition of Sandman, which soars higher and higher to new levels. This
brought the audience quickly to their feet.
JOSE: Jose conducted the VSO with precision,
making America and the VSO perform in synch and to perfection. He quickly
won the crowd over with his bright smile and confident manner.
AMERICA'S PROFESSIONALISM: Although the symphony
concert was a challenge to America and there was some initial nervousness
at practice, America's professionalism took over, and Gerry and Dewey the
guys performed with ease. Gerry and Dewey won the crowd over immediately
with onstage comments and humor, and some America background info.
VANCOUVER SYMPHONY: The VSO performed impeccably
all night with the quality and class that is expected of a world class
All too soon, it was time for Horse With No Name,
which began with a beautiful horn introduction, and followed by a myriad
What was most impressive were the final series
of thunderous standing ovations from the audience, which made it clear
that America and the VSO truly won over the hearts of Vancouver.
America /VSO playlist right off the stage......tape and all
On a personal note, this was a special night for my family and friends.
My wife Mary and our children Carolyn, Kyle, and Carmen were able to attend,
along with my Dad and Mom. It was my Dad that years ago said that he liked
this new group America, and got me interested initially. This was my way
of saying thanks to him........taking him to one of the classiest America
Many of my friends also attended. One of my best friends, who isn't
particularly too fond of all music, had a great time, and said how much
he enjoyed America. He even asked about the next concert in the Pacific
Northwest. Now that was the ultimate compliment!!!!
Also, it was wonderful to have our very special friends from California,
Kelly and Barb, up for the concerts. They really enjoyed Vancouver, and
especially the opportunity to see America perform with the VSO.